On my kitchen table is a little 16-inch television that I use for watching old DVD’s of movies and food shows while I am cooking. The other day I was watching the “America’s Test Kitchen” series from about ten years ago. I came across the segment about a recipe from the 5th Pillsbury Grand National Contest (later changed to Pillsbury Bake-Off).
This Bake-Off contest from 1954 was held at the iconic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Teenager Renny Powell from Chicago was competing in the Junior Division with a recipe having the unusual name of “Blueberry Boy Bait.” Pillsbury called it “A quick cake-like dessert filled with blueberries.” Renny Powell said it was something she liked to make for her friends when they gathered for a snack, and by the title, hoping it would be so good to get a boyfriend!
Christopher Kimball and his test kitchen staff decided to make an updated version of the original recipe. Since I had a bag of fresh wild blueberries that my husband Bill brought me from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I decided to try the test kitchen version.
The cake was easy to make and really good. Bill had it for breakfast with his coffee, but also liked it as a dessert with vanilla ice cream.
Renny Powell won the 2nd Prize of $2,000 for her efforts. I am guessing that was a lot of money for a teenager in 1954! I wonder what she did with her prize money? And did she get a boyfriend? Well, as it has been said, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!”
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen (do not thaw)
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F, Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan; set aside.
- , In a medium bowl, stir together the 2 cups flour, baking powder, and set aside.
- In bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter and both sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
- , Stir in milk and flour mixture alternately until blended, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
- Toss ½ cup of the blueberries with the teaspoon of flour, then carefully fold into batter. Scrape mixture in prepared pan.
- Sprinkle the top with the remaining ½ cup blueberries.
- Mix together the topping of sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over blueberries.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
Live this! Can’t wait to try.
Hope you like it, Lyndsey! The cooks at America’s Test Kitchen certainly did. It was a fun segment to watch.
Sounds good. Updated blueberry muffin?
EJ, I don’t think this would be a good muffin candidate because it has a more delicate texture and might fall apart more, but then again, I haven’t tried it as a muffin! That’s just my guess.
Cute story. I love how sharing cooking & recipes with others always has a story. Creating happy memories, besides the happy stomach.
I love that a teenager came up with this recipe. I bet she has some great memories.